Category Archives: Speeches

Romancing Opiates speech at 2016 “How the Light Gets In” Festival

Dalrymple’s speech at this year’s festival, organized by the Institute of Art and Ideas in Hay-on-Wye, is a recap of the argument from his book Romancing Opiates, an argument that I’m sure can be a little eyebrow-raising at first. Dalrymple begins the speech:

It’s my contention, if you’re an average audience, at least an audience interested in this subject, that everything you think you know about heroin addiction and addiction to other opiates is false. It belongs to the realm of mythology that has been assiduously peddled down the ages so that even doctors who should know better believe the myths.

If the embedded video below doesn’t work, you can register for free on their website and watch it there.

Dalrymple’s Australia speech

You can find audio of Dalrymple’s speech from his recent speaking tour of Australia in a few places around the net. There is audio here, and you should also be able to find it on the Podcast app on your smartphone. He gave the same speech in each location, so there is some redundancy, but there are also audience questions on these recordings, which are of course different in each location (if you find that interesting). Enjoy!

Dalrymple to speak in Australia

The Centre for Independent Studies, an Australian organization that seeks to promote “individual liberty and responsibility, free enterprise, the rule of law and limited, democratic government” will host Dalrymple on a speaking tour of Australia later this month. According to their website, Dalrymple will speak in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne in that order. The full schedule and details are here.

Dalrymple promotes new book on visit to U.S.

Dalrymple has spent the last few days making the rounds in New York and Washington, D.C. promoting his new book, Admirable Evasions: How Modern Psychology Undermines Morality.

He spoke at the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday. The video is here. The action doesn’t start until the 21:30 mark. (Update: the video has now been edited.)

On Thursday he visited the Wall Street Journal and recorded two short video interviews. In this one he addresses Islamic extremism, and here he discusses his book’s thesis that psychology has been a generally useless attempt to avoid the reality that “the permanent condition of mankind is dissatisfaction”. (H/t Michael G.)

On Thursday evening the New Criterion hosted a launch party in New York City for the book, and your humble correspondents (along with Skeptical Doctor reader Adam) enjoyed seeing the good doctor once again. He spoke for a few minutes, humorously sharing the titles of the psychology-inspired self-help books he noticed in the bookstore of DC’s Union Station.


Other attendees included his old City Journal editor Myron Magnet, Roger Kimball and James Panero.

Life at the Top: The Worldview That Makes the Elites

Last May, Dalrymple gave a speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC. We linked to it at that time but only as part of a mass post with links to many of his recent essays. We’ve been asked to post the speech individually and are quite happy to do so, as I fear many people probably did not see it the first time.


Dalrymple’s readers know that his work has attempted to shine a light on the worldview of those at the bottom of society and to explain how much modern social pathology results from an embrace of the ideas of those at the top. In this speech he was asked to explain the latter group: what the elite believe and why. The title is thus a reference to his most well-known work, Life at the Bottom.

As one of many examples of elite opinion, Dalrymple cites a public debate he had with a “well-known left-liberal journalist” on “the social, psychological, and cultural effects of the welfare state”:

Now, if the success of [Jewish and Sikh] immigrant groups in a tolerably open society… was not the result of a sinister conspiracy, what they had done could, in principle, be done by anyone else. What prevented them from going ahead and doing it?

It was my contention that it was the “mind-forg’d manacles,” among which manacles were the very ideas peddled so assiduously during her career by this very journalist: namely, that without the assistance of government bureaucracies paid for by taxation they could do nothing to improve their lot, an attitude that was bound to foster resentful passivity—resentful because no assistance can ever be enough for a passive person.

What my opponent wanted to deny was that there were any such things as mind-forg’d manacles; and the reason that she wanted to deny their existence, I suggest, is that to have done otherwise, to have admitted their existence, would have been to destroy her worldview completely, according to which only social injustice to be righted by state action (as suggested by her) would have redeemed the very many people in our society who are undoubtedly sunk in a wretched and pitiful condition. To have admitted their existence would not only have been to deny her the role of Salvationist to the masses, but suggested to her that her career had been dedicated to ensuring that the manacles were never struck off but rather strengthened and reinforced.

Thank you to the Heritage Foundation for hosting the speech and for reminding us that we never gave it the proper attention it deserves.

You can find the text of the speech here.